Get rid of old passwords by replacing user account


July 18, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I would like to know how to erase remembered passwords in Windows XP and other programs. Some are partial, where I hit the enter key too soon, and some are just expired.

Your solution is to start over with a new user name and password. This takes a bit of dancing about to accomplish, because the XP operating system sets up each user's main password to unlock all subsequent passwords for Web sites, e-mail and stuff like your botched ones.

Since your user name/password is out of whack, you need to make two fixes. First, set up a new account for yourself, being very careful this time while setting up your passwords. Then, either delete or abandon your old user name/password.

Also, you are a prime candidate for creating a Forgotten Password Disk that can be inserted if you forget passwords.

Click on Start and then Control Panel to find the User Accounts area. Once there, set up a new user name for yourself, making sure that you assign it the powers as an administrator, which means that the user can make all of the deleting and system software changes desired. From now on, you will use that new account.

Once you have created a new user with administrator powers, log off and then log on under the new account. This new user can delete your old administrator account. Or you could just leave the old account on the machine and just stop using it in favor of the new one.

When you set up the new user account, you will find a menu to let you create a floppy disk with all of your password data.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached via e-mail at

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